Please don’t take our values away…..

07/06/21

As City release details of their new sponsor, Matthew McGregor gives his views on what this means for the club.....

We knew it was coming, so we had time to get ready for that nasty taste in the mouth. Hints and leaks over the past few days meant we had time to reconcile ourselves to the news.

The club has a new primary sponsor in BK8, and somehow, inexplicably, they’re more gross than Dafabet. 

Of course, the Emi news has been officially confirmed today too. That news is sad and worrying – but it is news which is part and parcel of being a self-funded club owned by people who have the best interests of our club, our city, and our game at heart.

The club, with our owners and management team, have got so, so much right over recent years. But the unveiling of BK8 as our primary sponsor cuts against all of that.

First, let’s get the betting out of the way. To be sponsored by a gambling firm is not good for a community club. Betting is legal, and most people enjoy a flutter from time to time, me included. But for many, betting is an addiction that destroys their life. According to campaigners, around 65 per cent of the profits made by gambling firms come from problem gamblers. According to Matt Zarb-Cousin, a campaigner against the abuses of the gambling industry, gambling firms advertise so heavily in sport for a simple reason: they have a high turnover of customers. As some go skint, they need to be replaced by others to keep the money flowing. 

I don’t want Norwich City to be part of this industry. Others will disagree, and say that we can’t refuse to take the money when other clubs are. It’s true that the best thing would be for the government to ban gambling sponsorship on shirts from all teams, and create a level playing field, without betting money available for anyone.

I expected to be upset at the club doing a deal with a betting firm. But I didn’t expect the club to do a deal with a betting firm that engages in sexualised advertising, with their now hastily deleted instagram page packed out with photos of scantily dressed women with the BK8 logo on. Some even wearing handcuffs.

Our club has a clear equality statement. “We highly value the diversity of our football community and are committed to ensuring that we embed a highly inclusive culture across the Club, together with an accessible and welcoming environment.” The statement goes on to explain how it will be more than words, and emphasises, “It will be a condition of working with the Club that suppliers act in accordance with the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy.”

One glance – and it really only needed a glance – at BK8’s instagram page would have told anyone doing the due diligence that this is a firm that doesn’t view women in the way the club says it does. 

The Canaries Trust recently carried out an important survey which revealed the appalling extent of sexism within football. While saying that it’s not as bad as in the past, one-in-five women Norwich fans said they’d experienced some form of sexism at games and reported that “sexist banter” remained part and parcel of going to watch football.

Sarah Greaves, women’s football ambassador at the Canaries Trust, said: “It is clear sexism still exists and any banter which causes offence should not be tolerated.” That’s totally right. By failing to verify that BK8 agreed with that statement, and the club’s equality statement, fans who want Carrow Road to be welcoming to everyone have been let down.

We get it. We are a self-funded club. We have to take the downs with the ups of that. It means selling on Maddison, Lewis, Godfrey and now Emi. It means we compete for a toe-hold in the Premier League, not a spot in the Champions League. We don’t have a perfect club, and being a Norwich fan isn’t smooth sailing. What we do have is our values. We don’t have the right to expect that the club won’t sell its best assets. But we should be able to expect they won’t sell our values out at the same time.

Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Boring virtue signalling

    1. Chap says:

      Do you know what that actually means? Could you expand further on that point?

      1. Dave says:

        No, I don’t and no, I can’t.

        I can just about manage to breathe and type at the same time, don’t ask me to think as well.

        1. Chap says:

          Have you considered not breathing?

  2. Paul Eaton says:

    I would rather the likes of Lotus on our shirt. What’s really crazy, can have gambling, but Woodfordes brewery would be against sponsorship rules……. Figure that out

  3. Graham says:

    Agree with all of this. Hopefully they will have a lot of unsold shirts left at the end of the season.

  4. Richard L says:

    Great piece. Well articulated. Totally agree.

  5. Tony Duale says:

    I get the sex aspect of the article but we have had gambling sponsors before so what’s different. The trouble is in this snowflake society anything will be analysed and objected to.
    If it had been airline’s it would have been global warming. Its within guidelines so accept it but its good the club has rightly directed the company to remove the advertising.

  6. Darren Cowles says:

    Being based in Malta tax advoiders as well

  7. Stephen says:

    I don’t really get the Pearl-clutching over the scantily clad girls on their Instagram page. They’re models, they are doing their job. It is not degrading to women for a different woman to expose part of her body. Nor is it sexist. It’s that individual’s choice. It feels that in a post-Emi, COVID world, the NCFC internet is just a little bit too desperate to be wound up by something.

    I absolutely agree, however, that the club should have risen above the temptation to advertise an industry predicated on addiction. I think the vast majority of fans would have preferred they take 75% money and advertise a local, ethical company. It absolutely flies in the face of their ethos.

    1. Stephen says:

      * 75% less money

  8. Sean says:

    The co-ed and the lively comments demonstrate that with the NCFC we have a very special club and a great supporter base. Clearly somebody dropped the ball on this one (so glad it wasn’t TK!) hopefully it will get sorted out in the dressing room before the second half.

  9. Sean says:

    Whoops typo, I meant op-ed

We chat Farke/Webber contracts with Maddie Mackenzie and Andrew Lawn, celebrate unsung moments of the season, pick our perfect NCFC lockdown partners and look ahead to competing a bit better in August.

The BK8 & Bye Bye Emi Pod. Zoe Morgan and Edie Mullen join us to discuss a transfer deal and a mucky deal which have certainly made this a memorable week already.